The majority of the exhibit tells the story of what life was like in Pompeii before 79 A.D. There was light music playing, and video renderings of what the houses may have looked like at the time, as well as what people ate, how they shopped and what they did for fun.
I found it to be very ominous to see all these depictions of how lovely life was and how happy the people of this city were at the time, knowing full well what was going to be their fate. There were amazing artifacts on display including frescos, mosaics, sculptures and jewelry:
There were so many people visiting the exhibit that afternoon!
At the end, you are ushered into a theater-type room and shown a five minute video that is essentially a time-lapse of how the events unfolded on the day that Mount Vesuvius erupted. It was quite theatrical, with the walls shaking, lights flickering, sound effects and fake smoke billowing into the room. Twelve feet of ash buried the city when the volcano finally exploded, and the video did an excellent job of making it feel like you were being swept away with it.
Afterwards, the final stage of the exhibit was viewing the real casts of bodies recovered from Pompeii. I was shocked that they were on display like this, not even encased in glass should someone decide to reach out and touch them. I only took one photo, because afterwards I felt weird about photographing them and simply chose not to. You can click on the exhibition link above to see for yourself.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who read about Pompeii in school and became weirdly fascinated by it, so seeing this exhibition (which is returning to Italy in less than a week) was quite surreal. I was certain that I would have nightmares that night, but thankfully I didn’t.
Overall, it was really sad but also fascinating, and I would highly recommend going to see this exhibition if you ever have the chance.
What About You?
Any good museum exhibitions or shows you’d recommend? The AZ Science Center is such a great hub for traveling exhibitions and I have been going there since I was a kid!